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April 25, 2011 / Avarielle

Oh my. I just saw Saturn.

(the title of this post comes from my tweet which i sent just after I saw Saturn for the first time)

So I blogged about my first time at the Science Centre Observatory in my previous post and I mentioned that I wanted a telescope.

Well. I finally got a telescope – last week. The father and I headed to Astro Scientific last Wednesday. I was overwhelmed by everything there. There are so many types of telescopes currently on the market. Of course having a budget helps, since you’re limited to ‘scopes within your budget.

Whatever it was, we spoke to the guy at the shop and got tons of advice.

In the end, we ended up with a Celestron AstroMaster 70EQ.

Since we’re all busy folk, we didn’t get the telescope set up until last night. And then we went out to the garden and looked up. BAM! CLOUDS! Couldn’t even see a single star. So we kept the scope and went about our business.

Tonight looked a lot better. Most of the clouds were gone so we got the telescope and set it out in the garden. By the way, light pollution is now probably my worse enemy. My garden is surrounded by street lamps along the side and right in front of our gate is a street lamp. Thankfully, some of the light gets blocked by the trees around the edge of the garden.

Anyway, we got the scope out and selected a nice spot in the garden. No “presents” from my dogs on the grass. The street lamp was blocked by a low tree. All in all, an alright spot.

Out came my phone and Google Sky Map. There was nothing particular exciting up in the sky – except for Saturn. So that was our target.

Much fiddling then ensured. Through a lot of rough guesses and estimations, we finally got the scope pointed at Saturn. My father had the first look and told me he saw something. Of course I had to look as well. Got to the eyepiece. At first I had trouble seeing since I was wearing my glasses so I took it off. Then I saw it.

VERY VERY TINY. But it was Saturn all right. We were using the 20mm eyepiece which translate to 45x magnification. I could see the planet and this disc – which was the rings of course. Of course I didn’t see any of the moons.

So we switched to the 10mm eyepiece, which gives a 90x magnification. Did some focusing around and went back to looking at Saturn.

Then we swung the scope around and went to look at a few other stars. Of course we couldn’t see any details since the stars are so far away. Then I messed around with the scope for a while more, just to get used to it.

After that, we finally decided to go back in since there wasn’t anything else to look at. The moon hadn’t risen so we couldn’t look at it.

In summary: TONIGHT WAS AWESOME!

Seeing Saturn through a telescope is awesome, but seeing it through my own telescope, from my own garden is many times more awesome.

Stuff to take note for future observing sessions:
– bug spray
– raise the tripod/telescope higher. We had it at a very low height so we basically were squatting on the ground to get to the eyepiece.

No pictures since I didn’t have my digital camera with me out there. And my phone camera isn’t good enough.

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